EX-PAT ALERT: Chiriqui remains a hotbed of lawlessness against women.



José Atencio was apprehended on November 25, 2021, in Guacá Arriba in David

José Alberto Atencio, 47 years old, arrested for his alleged involvement in the crimes of robbery and deprivation of liberty to the detriment of Viviana Lisneth Gallardo, 17, will also be blamed for the disappearances of Anabel Valdivia and Astrid Tugrí.

Homicide prosecutor Hernán de Jesús Mora said that his office is carrying out three investigations into the disappearances of these three women. Inside one of them there is a detained person and in the coming weeks they will charge him for the other two disappearances.

‘On May 12 a hearing will be held and on May 20 the other will be held against this same subject, for the disappearances of these women,’ said the prosecutor.

In the development of the investigation, some situations are being verified that draw powerful attention and that may be related to points of coincidence in the three cases, added the authority.

In the province of Chiriquí, the young women Verónica Arcia have been missing since September 30, 2012; Anabel Valdivia, 28 years old, disappeared on August 8, 2021; Astrid Tugrí, 21 years old, on October 11, 2021 and Viviana Gallardo, 17 years old, on November 9, 2021.

Verónica’s case was in the inquisitorial system and was provisionally closed as no one was found responsible for her disappearance, however, José Alberto Atencio was investigated for this disappearance.

José Atencio was apprehended on Thursday, November 25, 2021 in the Guacá Arriba community in David, by detectives from the Homicide Section of the Judicial Investigation Directorate. Viviana’s belongings were found on the man.

According to the investigators, Viviana was contacted and picked up by Atencio at the David Transportation Terminal. The subject allegedly robbed her and deprived her of her freedom, but so far the whereabouts of her minor are unknown.

The teenager left her house in Paja de Sombrero, district of Guacá, towards the city of David, to carry out some labor procedures; the same thing happened with Tugrí, who was contacted for a job and disappeared. Anabel left on Sunday, August 8, 2021, for her employment as a domestic in the house of a Canadian, located in San Pablo de David, who was also the subject of investigation.

In the community of San Carlos de David, a skeleton was found that is now yet to be confirmed if it is one of the missing young women or to determine if it is another person.


On May 20, another hearing will be held for the disappearance of these three young women.

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